Playing in the pool on a hot summer’s day is a kid’s paradise! Kids don’t realize that as they swim, they are actually learning skills and valuable life lessons that help them achieve personal growth. Swimming nurtures cognitive, social, and physical development in children.
Explore some of the benefits swimming can provide for your child:
Confidence. No one is born knowing how to swim – it is a learned skill that allows kids and teens to see clear progress, and to take pride in their accomplishments.
Sportsmanship. Like other sports, swimming has competitive elements that allow children to learn teamwork, gracious winning and losing, and cooperation.
Physical Health. A great adaptive exercise, swimming is a healthy habit that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. It has been shown to prevent chronic diseases, and help maintain healthy weights.
Before you pack your towels and suntan lotion in preparation for a day at the pool, make sure you and your children are prepared with techniques and skills to enjoy the water safely.
The numbers speak for themselves — participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children aged 1-4. When you consider the fact that drowning is the leading cause of unintentional injury death among children in this age group, and one of the top three causes among those age 29 and under, the need for swimming instruction is clear.
While supervising your child and making sure a lifeguard is present while they swim are great precautionary steps, the reality is that drowning incidents still occur while under supervision. The best way we can prevent drowning is by empowering kids and teens directly, by teaching them lifesaving water safety skills. Before you head to the pool, talk to your kids about these water safety tips:
- Never swim unsupervised. Teach your children that they should only swim in locations where a lifeguard is on duty. Ensure they tell you before they enter the water, so you can make sure your children are supervised at all times.
- Don’t engage in excessive breath holding. Discourage children from holding their breath for a prolonged amount of time, as this can cause drowning and has several other severe physical side-effects.
- Use a flotation device. Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket to safely enjoy the water.
- Don’t jump in to save a struggling swimmer. Explain to your child that the best way to help a struggling swimmer is the “reach, throw, don’t go” concept of using a long object to reach the swimmer and pull them to safety, without compromising one’s own well-being.
- Sign up for water safety or swim lessons. Formal lessons teach skills that will empower your kids to stay safe around water.
The Y is proud to offer a variety of aquatic programs designed to promote water safety and develop strong swim skills. We offer 3 levels of programming, including Swim Starters, Swim Basics, and Swim Strokes.
Explore your local YMCA’s schedule to enroll your child in a program right for them.
Learn more about the Y’s fun and effective swim programs and enjoy a safe summer!